Reviews for Watching Shadows
Mara the Wolf chapter 1 . 5/27
Just checked out the Freytag model, I've already learned that English and Creative Writing classes, not really the help I need. It's that I have plot points, some characters (who the majority of need some character development, especially poor Chui the leopard. He was supposed to be a major character, and he's instead just a snarky glorified extra after I came up the protagonist, Sula the lion. His badass hyena friend has become his whinny little "foster sister," Akase the striped hyena (I felt the spotted hyena had had enough time in the spotlight.)), and the problems are getting things to make sense and not come off trashy or like a Lion King rip-off. For example, Sula is heavily inspired by the early versions of Simba, such as in "King of the Kalahari," a story described as being "like a National Geographic documentary" about a war between lions and baboons, Simba was supposed to be lazy, vain, and unlikeable. And in the January 1990 script of "King of the Jungle," Mufasa scolds Simba for playhunting his childhood friends when he's supposed be learning how to hunt, and Simba responds with "nature is wrong." He also had friends that weren't lions, like Daabi the aardvark, Letmuta the zebra colt, Nala's friend, Bhati the bat-eared fox, Timon the meerkat, and Harold the warthog (who would later become Pumbaa). Also in "King of the Jungle," Simba and Nala were not just friends, they were both the children of Mufasa, and their respective mothers, Sarabi and Naanda, were sisters. I liked how lions were being potrayed realistically. I like the who King of Beasts title, but I just want to see some fiction where lions aren't automatically heros, and definitely not kings because of their legendary meme. Whether Sula is unlikeable is up to the reader, and he's not vain, but this is to be "lion fiction without lion kings, and with a healthy dose of realism."

Here's the overview of the story:
(Until I can find a river in eastern Kenya with a african-sounding name, the pride will be referred to as "Mansa's Pride")
1. Lindana, one of four sisters in Mansa's Pride, gives birth to her litter, but soon only Sula is the only one left alive. Mosi and Zhara die of illness, as do many cubs.
2. Sula is shown playing with his half-siblings/cousins, Nadra, Badru, and Jina.
3. When Sula is a twelve-month-old, a rogue male, Kondo, comes and kills Mansa, then attempts to kill Sula.
4. Sula comes across the orphaned hyena pup, Akase, and decides to take her in. (This moment was meant to establish 1: there ARE good hyenas, 2: that not everything about Sula or the story is to be realistic, and 3: that Sula is not like other lions.)
5. Sula and Akase have grown up some, and are out hunting when Sula sees a treed leopard and decides to help. With the (reluctant) help of Akase, he drives off whatever had treed the leopard and stolen its kill. The leopard doesn't quite trust them at first, but decides Sula is nice guy and makes friends, becoming the third member of the pack.
6. It's been at least a year or two since point five. For some reason, Nadra decides to run away, hoping to find Sula, even though the rest of the pride is convinced he's dead. We are also shown Kondo's cubs, including Mthunzi, daughter to lioness Bianca, who is inspired by Zira, minus the child abuse and most of the sadism, who joined after the pride's takeover, and the brothers Shaka and Thando. (I have no idea why Nadra would run away; this was meant to deconstruct some points of the Lion King that were unrealistic: Scar allowing hyenas to come into the pride, said hyenas destroying the ecosystem, and Nala rejecting Scar. I understand it's for dramatic purposes, but really, when in a story that's attempting to portray lions as animals, not kings, those points wouldn't work, as Sula will point out in a way that is a bit of a "take that!" to the Lion King.)
7. Nadra eventually finds Sula. Cue nods (and anti-nods) to the Lion King: they're happy to see one another, but don't fight or fall in love, Sula asks about his half-brothers Badru and Jina, but Nadra doesn't have answers, Nadra tries to convince Sula to come back, but news flash: Sula's just an ordinary lion with no reason to go back, plus he's rather hurt that his family didn't try to at least protect him, they're angry but Sula makes Nadra the offer to join his family. When she meets his family, a hyena and a leopard, she's offended that Sula would choose them over his birth family. Sula gets angry and tells her that he only made her the offer to join because they're siblings, and once best friends, but if she cannot accept his new family, she doesn't have to join. Nadra spends a week living on the edges of the pack, sharing their meals but otherwise not one of them, before willing to accept them.
8. Sula meets his mates, the nomad half-sisters Zara and Safi.
9. This is where plot is really having trouble. I feel that if I don't fit this in, the readers would be yelling "What the hell?!" and tossing the book in the never-read-again-pile. Sula must some reason go back and fight Kondo and Bianca. He spares Bianca because he doesn't believe in killing other animals unless necessary. Kondo forces him to fight to the death, and Sula wins (what kind of story would it be all this dramatic build-up lead the hero's death?). Bianca becomes enraged and leaves. Sula gives Kondo's cubs the choice to stay or join Bianca. Most cubs choose to stay, but Shaka leaves declaring to one day avenge his father, his brother Thando torn between joining him or staying.
10. Happy ending. Badru has made Mthunzi his mate and they have cubs. Sula, Zara, Safi, Nadra, Akase, and Chui return to the place where Sula introduced Nadra to Akase and Chui. Akase and Nadra have mates of their own and little ones. Sula has with Zara: Rune, Tanba, and Zhara, and with Safi: Nyota and Imani. Badru often comes with his cubs to visit his siblings. The end.

What do you think? It needs loads of character development and work on the plot, but constructive criticism would be really appreciated.
AshWolf Forever chapter 1 . 5/27
To MaraTheWolf: Thank you for the kind words. :) I am glad you enjoy the stories. No, not yet, it's still being written, but additional chapters are on my Patreon account. I'm working to publish "Path of the Dragon" right now.

To answer your questions:
1: In any lion stories you write, you mention a Creator. Who is he?
It's not just my lion stories. All my stories use this concept. The Creator is being that created the world that my stories take place in. You can see it as "God", or any other creator being you like. It's not meant to be very specific.

2: I conceived a lion story a couple weeks ago, and was wondering if you'd be interested in helping me make it. It's totally up to you though.
I'd be happy to help but I just don't have the time right now. I can suggest plotting methods etc. such as the Freytag model.
Mara the Wolf chapter 3 . 5/24
Wonderful. It's great. Has it been published already? I would love to have this story on my bookshelf. By the way, I do not have a fictionpress or confirmed fanfiction account, but if my name appears as "Guest," my fanfiction account is Mara the Wolf. I've read Ripples: Tender Lies, The Jungle Emperor and the Lion King, and When Kimba Meets Simba: An Alternate Tale, and they are great. I have a couple questions though. You'll have to answer via reviews, sorry! 1: In any lion stories you write, you mention a Creator. Who is he? 2: I conceived a lion story a couple weeks ago, and was wondering if you'd be interested in helping me make it. It's totally up to you though. Hope you respond!